Enigma 7. ICBN vs Larry C. Leach and Col. C.L. Scott.

No progress.

The presentation is intended to show that trial by the international botanical community has sentenced these two innocent people to death because they are INNOCENT of witchcraft (NOT guilty – to show this is clear and unambiguous as the ICBN may require).  M.B. Bayer is exempted only because he drew attention to this likely result in the case of Col. Scott, but simply stood aside and watched Leach trying to exonerate himself, and did nothing.

There are two herbarium specimens of Haworthia that are represented by two plates or illustrations.

One plate in the Kew library is of a plant collected by Dr Mackrill somewhere in the Cape.  It is labelled H. setata and there is every reason to think this may represent what Haworth, the author of the name, intended. Therefore we refer to this Kew plate in the process of typifying names, as H. setata Haworth.

Second plate, T27 in Commelin’s Praeludia Botanica is of a plant of unknown origin.  The closest we can come to the author of the Pre-linnaean name is H. arachnoidea.  Therefore we refer to this plate T27 in the process of typifying names, as H. arachnoidea (L.) Duval.

Scott (and Dr L A Codd too, incidentally) has no doubts about that.  In fact nobody should have any doubts about this.  Scott makes it absolutely crystal clear in his book and elsewhere, that this is what he has done.

Now it comes to APPLICATION.  Scott does so in a manner which no one can doubt.  He cites representative specimens from field populations.  He does everything he should have done EXCEPT, as Bayer and Wijnands pointed out – The plants he was applying the names to, had a very poor resemblance to this T27, and Scott should perhaps have followed what Bayer had  done.  Scott made the mistake of not showing what he understood of Bayer.  He should have shown:- That H. herbacea (Mill) Stearn of Bayer was the same as H. arachnoidea (L.)Duv. sensu Scott.  A synonym.

Scott had said that the name H. herbacea could be typified in the way Stearn did (1938), and in 1985 he also shows that he considers it to be the same species as his concept of H. arachnoidea – which it is.  He was perfectly entitled to this reasonable assessment.  Bayer (1982) admits that his APPLICATION of this name is questionable.

Now enter Borgmann and Breuer.  In a manuscript (Breuer, 1997) initiating the later publication, because they know what Scott has done, and because they know what Bayer has done, they are able to say this:-

H. setata = Mackrill Kew = H. setata sensu Scott
H. herbacea = Commelin T27 = H. arachnoidea sensu Scott

In each case they do what the ICBN code requires and obliges them to do.  They select epitypes or neotypes or whatever.  Breuer and Metzing (1997) went through the whole process of formally typifying every Haworthia name that Bayer recognised and APPLIED.  They unashamedly make the claim (1997, tacitly in 1998) that confusion did result from Bayer’s (1976, 1982) and Scott’s (1977, 1978, 1985) failure to have done this as the code demands.

Breuer and Metzing seem to have done absolutely the right thing that the code and the wise men who drew up all its articles and recommendations, require of them.

If Scott had perhaps chosen their same epitypes, nothing would have changed either his typification nor his APPLICATION.  He would still call his plants by the same names.  In other words he SHOULD have known:-

H. herbacea (Mill.) Stearn sensu Breuer & Metzing (1997) is a going to be a synonym of his H. arachnoidea and therefore have used the former name.

What was done in 1997 should have been prophesied by witchcraft in 1985.  In effect they have said “Col. Scott in terms of the intent of the code you have done absolutely the right thing, but in the strict absolute provisions of the code you are quite mistaken.  You should have known what epitype or neotype we were going to choose and typified your name in the same way we have done.  You SHOULD have known this by prophecy.

All exasperation and irritation he caused other reluctant listeners has finally paid some dividend for Larry Leach.  Dr A. Cronquist presented a paper at a conference of the ruling body of the ICBN in New York (1988) which was entitled “Do we know what we are doing?”

Larry Leach would have said “No – you do not know what you are doing – you are signing my intellectual death warrant – the end of my intellectual integrity.  You require me to be able to cite my synonymy by prophesy and witchcraft”.

As Graham Williamson said.  Larry Leach was an amazing man.  He cheerfully repeated  “The whole worlds crazy brother, except thee and me, and even thee is a bit odd”.  This, while he was slowly bleeding to intellectual death.